Another Medal for Lasha Tsatsalashvili 9 July 2023
Medal and Pan-American Qualification for Isabelle Harris 23 July 2023
Lasha Tsatsalashvili’s medal on Saturday in the under-73 kg weight division, two more Canadians stepped onto the podium on Sunday at the Paks Junior European Cup in Hungary. John Jr. Messé A Bessong (+100 kg) and Jumber Meladze (-81 kg) earned the top spots on the podium in their respective categories.
Following a first-round bye, Messé A Bessong faced Gyorgy Lakatos of Hungary in the second round. The Québécois bested his opponent in less than three minutes to advance to the semi-finals, where he soundly defeated Levente Dobos, also of Hungary. In the gold medal final, Messé A Bessong was up against Mathys Gomes Da Silva of France. The Canadian dispatched of his opponent in 42 seconds. According to Canadian coach Sasha Mehmedovic, the crushing victory was extremely satisfying for Messé A Bessong. “John’s game plan was simple, and by sticking to it, he won all three of his fights. I’m really happy for him. He was very disappointed with his results last week. Today (Sunday), he came back strong and made it very clear that he was after the gold medal,” said the coach. Messé A Bessong finished third at the Slovenj Gradec Junior European Cup in Slovenia last weekend.
Jumber Meladze was just as dominant in the under-81 kg category today. He sailed through his first three bouts undefeated to advance to the semi-finals, where he defeated Vukan Stanimirovic of Serbia in less than 90 seconds. Meladze’s final challenger of the day was Marcell Demeter of Hungary. The Ontarian was even more expeditious in that fight, disposing of Demeter by ippon in 57 seconds to win his second Junior European Cup of the year, having also prevailed in Sarajevo last March. “Jumber was extremely dominant all day. He won the final very quickly by immobilizing his opponent on the ground. He followed his game plan to the letter, and we couldn’t have asked for a better result,” noted Mehmedovic. Mehmedovic expressed great pride in his athletes’ performances this season. They have come a long way in the past year. “This weekend in Hungary has been very satisfying. Most of our athletes have seen a significant improvement over last year. Our plan was to have them fight as much as possible to gain experience, and it’s clearly already paying off.” Canadian women Catherine Toshkov (-63 kg) and Evelyne Beaton (-52 kg) both finished seventh, with one win and two losses each on Sunday. Marie-Lune Turmel and Charlize Isabelle Medilo also won one of their three bouts each in the under-48 kg division, but did not rank. Heidi Quach (-48 kg) and Mahee Savoie (-57 kg) lost their only fights of the day, while Violette Louet (-52 kg) lost her two bouts. Canadian men Faniry-Michael Andriamanana (-81 kg) and Norman Brazhnyk (-100 kg) also lost their only bouts of the day on Sunday.